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Race report
BTCC Knockhill

BTCC Knockhill: Gamble claims maiden BTCC win in finale

British Touring Car Championship rookie George Gamble took his maiden series victory in the reversed-grid finale to the Knockhill round.

George Gamble, Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport BMW 330e M Sport

Gamble started on pole in his Ciceley Motorsport BMW 330e M Sport but was expected to have to fight hard for it, with local heroes Rory Butcher and Gordon Shedden lining up second and third respectively.

But Shedden’s chances were ruined at McIntyre’s on the opening lap – Tom Ingram went down the inside of the Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R, but his Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N was partly on the grass.

Ingram ran off track, dropping to the tail end of the top 20, while Shedden fell to seventh, and as he rejoined the circuit clashed into the unfortunate Dan Cammish, whose Motorbase Performance Ford Focus was sidelined on the spot.

That freed up Butcher to attack Gamble, and the Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla driver was challenging over the early stages of the race.

But by half-distance Gamble had eked out a gap of over a second, while Butcher had the West Surrey Racing BMWs of Colin Turkington and Jake Hill homing in on him.

With seven laps remaining, Turkington appeared to offer no resistance to the probing Hill as they approached the hairpin, allowing the Kentishman up to third.

Hill soon latched onto Butcher, and with three laps to go he finally got ahead of the Toyota on the start-finish straight.

This battling secured Gamble his victory, and the Nottingham driver crossed the finish line 4.332s clear of Hill.

Jake Hill, ROKiT MB Motorsport BMW 330e M Sport

Jake Hill, ROKiT MB Motorsport BMW 330e M Sport

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

“Unbelievable,” said an emotional Gamble. “I’ve had two years out of racing, and it’s been such a journey to get back. This is something I’ve dreamed of since I was 14 in Ginetta Juniors.

“It was lights to flag, the times we were putting in were consistent, and I built a gap and managed it. It was a picture-perfect race.”

Early in the race Hill had been embroiled in yet another battle with reigning champion Ash Sutton, but he finally made fourth position his on the fifth lap and Sutton fell away in his Motorbase Performance Ford Focus.

But the infighting ahead of him allowed Sutton, who had saved his hybrid usage for later in the race, to close up on Butcher and Turkington.

While Butcher just held on for third on his home circuit, Turkington narrowly fended off Sutton to claim fourth, and the Northern Irish four-time champion has now moved into the series lead over Ingram, who was only able to recover to 12th.

Shedden managed to find a way past Stephen Jelley’s WSR BMW for sixth just before half-distance, but Jelley was able to thwart the BTC Racing Honda of Josh Cook, who has now fallen from a pre-weekend second in the points to fifth behind Sutton and Hill.

Tom Chilton (Excelr8 Hyundai) and Aiden Moffat (Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50) completed the top 10.

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